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Solar Cell Roof Charger



Have a glass roof that would have a set of solar cells to charge the battery while in the sun.


While this is technically possible, the power generated is rather minimal. There have been a few production cars that have implemented a solar panel, but mostly for a tiny fan for air circulation while the car is parked in the sun.

We did a in-depth analysis of the competition, costs, and how much range might be gained.  The results were not good. Check it out at: TeslaTap’s Solar Vehicle Roof Analysis




Category: Tags: entered 3-Jan-2013


Agreed - solar panels on a car roof sounds good, but are a dumb idea.
Agree that it is not viable to charge the car on a regular basis. the ability to charge with solar panels would offset the parasidic/vampire loss and allow for long term parking without a plug handy. it could also serve as an emergency source of power to get to the next charging station if stranded (for a long time)  in the middle of nowhere. I saw on the Fiskar web stite that the solar panel option on the Karma give you about 1 mile/day of charge. (if I remember it correctly)
With the current technology, I think solar panel could help keep the 12V battery charged over time at best. Not worth the cost. My $.02
Well. Imagine going for a holliday, like hiking, where you have to park your car right out in in the middel of nowhere. I would gladly pay an extra fee for getting the possibility to get the car recharged even when not near any civilization. I guess it´s very much about your life style and where you go. Imho I think this would be an excellent option. IF you don´t need it, don´t buy it. But give it as an option to us who think it would be very beneficial.
Totally impracticable for charging the main battery. Given widely reported problems with the 12V battery such an idea would be better directed to keeping the 12V battery charged.
What about thin-film solar all over the car?  I've heard they can essentially coat whole buildings with it (glass, walls, roof, etc.).  Does that come close to even a 120v outlet limited to 10 amps (like at my work)?  My car sits in the sun the entire time I'm at work.
Thin-film solar on the entire car would still not produce much power. It is critical for Solar to be in the sun and best if angled directly to the sun. it would be very rare that even 50% of the car would be in a good position due to curves and placement. I can't see it producing more than 0.3 miles of range (1500 ft) an hour in the best of situations, and normally a small fraction of this.  This best case is about 1 amp at 120 VAC.
As solar prices fall and Tesla/Solar City gain experience making glass solar roof tiles, I would think it wouldn't be too expensive to make a 1 sheet of glass car roof with integrated solar.  It could be made to match the color of the car at low angles, so it would look fairly nice.  Given the very small amount of power it would produce, it wouldn't be that useful, but I suspect some people would be willing to pay for the upgrade because of how it makes them feel, apart from any real energy/economic calculation...
I'd be all for it.  I'd take solar all over - roof, hood, trunk, anywhere they can put it that could be useful (thin film solar or something even better/newer that Tesla could invent) vs. the glass roof if it were an option.  I understand it doesn't offer much, but it's something cool and moving in the right direction.  If you leave your car outside all the time it can't hurt to collect that energy, even if to just keep the interior warm/cool and/or to negate phantom drain.